In the current digital age written web content has evolved into a whole new industry. What used to be a simple way of communication has now become a complicated jumble of marketing voices, all clamouring to be heard over the pack.
There’s no doubt about it – even though you may have talent when it comes to the written word, it’s not easy to keep your content at the top!
Don’t lose heart because you aren’t the only one in this boat. With an internet that’s saturated with content on every topic you can think of (and a few more) it’s not easy to get yours noticed. But it’s not impossible either! What you need is a clear strategy and a few tools…
Whether you’re writing it yourself or outsourcing to a somebody else, content creation isn’t cheap. And, like anything else, you’ll get what you pay for – be prepared to spend the time and/or money and you’ll be rewarded with something great!
So, where to start?
Research, then write
It’s not easy to find a topic that hasn’t already had loads written about it. That’s why you need to take time to research and see what’s already out there. If you find screeds of content on your topic, think carefully about whether or not you write about it too. Maybe you would be better to focus on a particular aspect of the topic that’s only been covered lightly, or approach it from a totally different angle altogether.
The ugly truth is that the general public doesn’t read web content the way they read a book. They’re simply not interested in long paragraphs of beautifully written text on a given topic. When they Google, they want information quickly and accurately, with minimal ‘fluff’ and extra fancy stuff.
That’s why, once you’ve done your initial research and decided how you’re going to approach your topic, you need to go in ‘all guns blazing’.
Know your stuff.
Understand the facts and state them.
Be clear, concise and definite in the way you write.
Research has proven that people only retain about 60% of what they read on the internet, so you need to make sure they remember your article.
Forget the word count. Think quality, not quantity. Maybe your information would be better conveyed through pictures, diagrams or charts. As they say, ‘a picture paints 1000 words’ so don’t be afraid to cut back on the text and use other visual tools to get your message out there.
Consider the ‘F-shaped’ reading pattern. In general, when we open a page on the internet, we scan in a horizontal pattern across the first few lines or even paragraphs. Then we tend to scroll down and lightly read the rest of the article, focussing on dot points or pictures as we go. That sound familiar?
As the writer, it’s your job to hold the interest of the reader. Use tools such as numbered lists, dot points or subheadings to make reading easier. It helps the reader identify exactly what they are looking for in your article and gets your message across in short, pithy statements.
Be prepared to think outside the square. Content that is just a rehash of somebody else’s article isn’t going to get you anywhere. Quite aside from the fact that it shows you up as lazy and uncreative, it simply won’t cut the mustard and make you stand out from the pack.
Don’t lower yourself to plagiarism (copying somebody else’s work without their authority – i.e. cut and paste from another website). Quite apart from being slack, it’s a serious offence and could lead you into a legal battle.
Don’t back off
If you want your website to be up there with the best of them, you’ll have to keep up the momentum. Nobody is interested in reading old, outdated information, so if you aren’t prepared to post new, up-to-date content on a regular basis, you can guarantee your stuff won’t get read. It’s that simple. The pace of the current digital age is hectic, and only getting faster, so there are only two options: do or die. Your online presence will back off when you do, so hang in there and maintain your commitment to your website.
Get your web content right, and it will be a highly valuable part of your online marketing strategy. What you need is innovation, creative thinking and the right word choice. Keep it simple. Keep it up-to-date and keep it going!